There’s been a heated online debate about the ways consumers are influenced to buy things and adopt new social trends. Some people say a small group of Influencers drive most consumer decisions. Others argue that ideas spread through society from random starting points, without a hierarchy. The evidence shows that both groups are wrong in More
Tag Archives | Business Strategies
The business equivalent of making sausage is the marketing of marketing. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (November 29-30, 2008), Tom Hayes and Michael Malone explain the new world of marketing in a Web-based world. They have a provocative name (“Marketing 3.0″) and a new concept (the business meme or “beme”). In the end, they sound like apologists trying to make a pitch for why advertising agencies are still relevant and reminds me of this humorous video imaging what would happen if a modern advertising agency designed the stop sign. In short, they are marketing marketing.
What should you do? Do you stop things? Start things? Answer: yes, to both. Of course you should rethink and reevaluate but if you do that for long you put at risk the current business or effort simply because you didn’t execute what you could have done.
Public statements notwithstanding, more business plans in Silicon Valley are built around technology than around customer relationships. It’s just the way it is; we’re talking about technology companies, right? The problem is that, given time, all technology either becomes obsolete or a commodity. With the increasing pace of technological change, this is happening sooner rather than later. The risk in building on technology rather than customer relationships is that you are never more than a wrong turn or two away from putting your business survival at risk. Customer relationships provide your business with more options, and strong relationships can be very forgiving of the occasional misstep, meaning your business is more resilient and your plans can be bolder. Further–and perhaps even more important–technology-centric business models limit your offerings and growth potential, so they are associated with lower valuations over the long term.
If your business is targeted by a larger competitor, the natural response is to want to play defense — to squeeze pricing, take special care of the channel, maybe do some promotions and guerrilla marketing. We’d never advise you to take your eye off a competitor, but the defensive reaction isn’t always the best way to fight. A larger competitor will expect you to do these things, and will usually be well prepared for siege warfare. They’ll be ready to match your pricing and outspend you in the channel in order to drive you out of the market.
A popular sport in Silicon Valley is arguing about what exactly Web 2.0 is or is not. Is it about collaboration? Social networking? Custom services?
We think the argument misses the point. Web 2.0 is just an effect of a broader trend: the fundamental remaking of the software industry as a result of the Internet.